To those not following Nintendo's struggles with the 3DS, the device's sudden, significant price drop might have come as a bit of a surprise. But for the rest of us, especially current 3DS owners, the news was altogether pretty expected. And welcome.
Here's the skinny: Sales of the 3DS since its February launch been pretty slim, to say the least. Since March, Nintendo has only moved 830,000 3DS units in the U.S., a figure that has likely inspired a bit of a panic in Nintendo. Hence the 3DS's price drop to $170, a 32% percent cut from the previous price. The price drop also came with the news that Nintendo is cutting its operating profit forecast from $2.2 billion to a relatively-paltry $449 million. Clearly, all is not well in the land of Nintendo.
Thankfully, this is a reality that Nintendo decided to rectify rather than ignore. Of course, you can easily make the argument that the 3DS was priced too high to begin with, which was part of the reason so few consumers took the bait and purchased one. In any case, Nintendo's move to cut the price of the 3DS so quickly was an unprecedented one for the company. But it was a smart move, all told.
But the cut in price, while welcome, still fails to solve the single most fundamental issue with the 3DS as of July 2011: There are no damn games. The last legitimate hit was The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D, but even that wasn't enough to move a sizable number of consoles. Throughout the history of game consoles, one thing has remained true above all others: A game console without games is no game console at all.
Thankfully, Nintendo is moving to change that. Super Mario 3D Land, the 3DS's first Mario title, is coming in November. Mario Kart 7 and Kid Icarus are both eyeing a December release. Slightly earlier, and a bit less exciting is the release of Star Fox 64 3DS, which is coming in September. Will these releases, coupled with the 3DS's price drop, revive the flagging 3DS? Considering that the future of the 3DS likely lies in what happens during the next five months, I'd certainly hope so.